It is difficult for parents to ensure their children can safely engage in online activity. The daily news is rife with reports of internet predators and underage Internet users are often unaware of the malicious intent of online acquaintances or sites with which they interact.
The Internet is an excellent source of 24/7 information, providing young people the opportunity to socialize, pursue their interests, and seek validation, but the Internet can also increase children's exposure to identity theft, hacking, and online stalkers.
How can parents help protect their children?
Parents can ensure that the home computer provides safeguards.
Parents should also be aware that the home computer is not the only way for their children to access the Internet. They can use the unmonitored computer at a friend's house, their school, the public library, a club or even a coffee house. In addition, certain game consoles, handheld devices and mobile phones have the ability to connect to the Internet. For these reasons, it is important to openly communicate with your child to form healthy Internet habits.
Visit Teen Safety on the Information Highway at http://www.safeteens.com/teen-safety-on-info-highway/. This site is sponsored by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (www.missingkids.com; http://www.netsmartz.org/index.aspx). They also have a CyberTipline at http://cybertipline.com/.
The Federal Trade Commission recommends the following sites (listed in alphabetical order) for tips and information from the federal government and the technology industry:
GetNetWise is a public service sponsored by Internet industry corporations and public interest organizations to help ensure Internet users have safe, constructive, and educational or entertaining online experiences. The GetNetWise coalition wants Internet users to be just "one click away" from the resources they need to make informed decisions about their family's use of the Internet.
iKeepSafe.org, home of Faux Paw the Techno Cat, is a coalition of 49 governors/first spouses, law enforcement, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other associations dedicated to helping parents, educators, and caregivers by providing tools and guidelines to teach children the safe and healthy use of technology. The organization's vision is to see generations of children worldwide grow up safely using technology and the Internet.
Founded in 1998 and endorsed by the U.S. Congress, i-SAFE is a non-profit foundation dedicated to protecting the online experiences of youth everywhere. i-SAFE incorporates classroom curriculum with dynamic community outreach to empower students, teachers, parents, law enforcement, and concerned adults to make the Internet a safer place. Join them today in the fight to safeguard children's online experience.
The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) is a private, nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to enable people to create safer and more caring communities by addressing the causes of crime and violence and reducing the opportunities for crime to occur. NCPC addresses Internet Safety with kids and parents through www.mcgruff.org and public service advertising under the National Citizens' Crime Prevention Campaign — symbolized by McGruff the Crime Dog and his "Take A Bite Out Of Crime."
NCSA is a non-profit organization that provides tools and resources to empower home users, small businesses, and schools, colleges, and universities to stay safe online. A public-private partnership, NCSA members include the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Trade Commission, and many private-sector corporations and organizations.
WiredSafety.org is an Internet safety and help group. Comprised of unpaid volunteers around the world, WiredSafety.org provides education, assistance, and awareness on all aspects of cybercrime and abuse, privacy, security, and responsible technology use. It is also the parent group of Teen Angels, FBI-trained teens and preteens who promote Internet safety.
These helpful tips are provided by Digital Defense, Inc., a computer security company working with your bank as a responsible member of the community to help insure the privacy and security of our nation's financial information.